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Skyscraper

What do you get when you mix a 1970’s disaster film with a 1980’s-style action blockbuster? ‘Skyscraper’ is the answer with its blending of ‘The Towering Inferno’ and ‘Die Hard’ - a lethal combination. It helps as those two movies were box office titans with the producers of ‘Skyscraper’ seemingly hoping for similar rewards. It doesn’t do the skyscraper business any good as those prone to vertigo would be wise to avoid the scary visions ‘Skyscraper’ offers. As yet another high-octane vehicle for Dwayne Johnson it should appeal to his admirers with his stoic stature more solid than the building in which he battles.

Former FBI Agent Will Sawyer (Dwayne Johnson) lives with his family in the world’s tallest skyscraper in Hong Kong. Working as its security guard, Will stays alert for any signs of danger. Trouble surfaces when terrorists attack the enormous structure. Swiftly finding himself framed for it, Will must save his family and reputation before death claims more victims.

‘Skyscraper’ could almost write itself, so threadbare is the script. Ditto the acting which won’t haunt award season anytime soon. None of that matters as ‘Skyscraper’ exists as a vehicle for spectacle and dazzling action. ‘Skyscraper’ succeeds in both with Johnson’s commanding presence overcoming the enormous leaps of logic. The plot is as dumb as it gets but a lot of fun with some genuinely suspenseful sequences.

There’s no reason to go over the story or the performances as they are all as expected. The main appeal of ‘Skyscraper’ is the amazing CGI and inventive stunts. The direction and sound design generate several white-knuckle scenes with the D Grade dramatics and cheesy humour in full flight. Scholars of the genre will know exactly how things play out. Despite this, its familiarity helps ‘Skyscraper’s few surprises to be authentic with a cleverly scripted and tense finale.

Complete nonsense and silly in the extreme, ‘Skyscraper’ does what it says on the poster. It’s never dull and has a level of excitement and pacing that never lets up. You can’t take it too seriously but one has to remember to collect their brain when leaving the cinema as you won’t need one going in.

Rating out of 10: 6

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom

The fifth entry in the series, ‘Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom’ is another tale filled with CGI beasts. Technology has come a long way since the original ‘Jurassic Park’ film in 1993. Since then the ability to create wondrous and frightening new creatures has improved immeasurably. The scripts have improved as well, discarding the lethargy of previous entries. ‘Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom’ is grandiose escapism only a fortune could buy with the monster’s gnarly smiles more gruesome than ever.

Years after the chaos that shut down the Jurassic World theme park, former caretakers Owen (Chris Pratt) and Claire (Bryce Dallas Howard) return. Their arrival is due to the discovery that a volcano is about to erupt on its island location with the remaining dinosaurs trapped. Desperate to rescue them before the event causes their extinction, Owen and Claire also discover a sinister conspiracy. Caught between animal and human foes, the intrepid duo race against time before a cataclysm ensues.

‘Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom’ is a good addition to the series without being remarkable. Whilst long-time viewers may be jaded at seeing more CGI dinosaurs, the script at least attempts something new for the franchise. Half island and half mainland set, this location differentiation keeps the plot moving and feeling fresh which director J.A. Bayona handles well. Although by now the series has a familiarity about it, Bayona ensures each frame isn’t wasted.

Making ‘Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom’ work are the performances and great action. Pratt and Howard are an easily likeable duo with the villains suitably wicked. They know they aren’t performing Shakespeare and burst into the energetic fray with glee. Their ability to mix dark and light moments enable to make viewing enjoyable with John Williams’ original orchestral score always a pleasure to hear again.

‘Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom’ is a fun ride for those wanting blockbuster thrills. Even though it lacks the zesty vigour of the original movie, it’s far better than some of the sequels. Yet another ‘Jurassic World’ may be stretching the franchise’s goodwill but unlike the dinosaurs, making box office money will never become extinct as long as the audience demands more sequels.

Rating out of 10: 6